It seems every car company has a springboard car, a vehicle that put them on the map and announced it had arrived. For BMW that car may well be the E9. The E9 chassis was so modernly styled that its basic shape and styling elements sustained through 1989, when the last 635CSi rolled off the assembly line. Today, the E9s have become exceedingly collectible with both purists and racing enthusiasts alike.
Launched in 1965 as an elegantly styled pillarless coupe with a two-litre four-cylinder engine, it wasn’t until 1968 that BMW reworked the model with the Munich company’s refined and powerful SOHC straight six to created one of the finest grand tourers ever made. Codenamed E9, the CS’s Karmann-built bodywork featured revised styling with a much-improved frontal aspect and an interior expensively finished in either cloth or leather, with wood facia and leather-rimmed steering wheel. A twin carburetor 3.0 version was announced at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, with the fuel injected CSI launched a couple of months later using the latest Bosch D-Jetronic system.
With its beautiful lines, purposeful stance and pillarless doors, styled by famed German coachbuilder Karmann, the CS grabbed instant attention. Powered by a superbly engineered straight six, three litre engine, this fast, sharp-handling cruiser had performance to match its looks. BMW now had a new face look that would come to define the company's image for the rest of the century.
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